The Challenge: Measuring the Impact of Congestion
Ottawa ranked as the 4th most congested city in Canada and 14th in North America. These results were revealed according to the 2018 TomTom Traffic Index. Congested roadways are a major problem for both the economy and the culture of urban areas.
The City of Ottawa were aware of this problem and its effects, and as a result were searching for methods by which to actively monitor and manage the impact of local traffic events such as road closures, and present their findings using factual data. It is essential to improve the reliability of traffic data being collected so that roadways can be effectively managed and accurate information to motorists and traffic managers can be shared.
SMATS Traffic Solutions’ data analytics platform, iNode™, features integrated crowdsourced traffic data. This enables the City of Ottawa to establish “virtual sensors” and monitor traffic conditions in real time. This means installing, relocating or retrieving hardware to carry out these tasks is no longer necessary.
Using iNode™ allows the City to monitor live travel times, compare alternative travel routes, and carry out before-and-after studies. To respect public privacy and always with social impact in mind, traffic data is sourced from anonymous “floating-cars”.
The City of Ottawa, with the help of iNode™, has been able to actively monitor traffic flow, identify issues in congested areas and detect and measure the impacts of construction on traffic. Using the iNode™ platform, city officials have developed more than 20 links to monitor travel times on highways and roads within Ottawa.
Using the factual traffic data gathered with iNode™ instead of anecdotal evidence, the charts and CSV files of the resulting data are exported and used to validate project findings, support decisions being made by the city, investigate issues with traffic, measure the impact of changes to traffic patterns, and back-up necessary proposals.
Other units within the city, such as Traffic Engineering, have also begun to implement facets of iNode™ to streamline their operations, such as utilizing before-and-after studies for traffic signal retiming. According to Bruno Lepage, the Incident Management Coordinator, Traffic Management, for the City of Ottawa, it is the diverse functionality, remote accessibility, and the valid traffic data obtained using SMATS’ iNode™ platform that allows them to make informed traffic decisions,
Map of virtual sensor locations. Image Credit: SMATS Traffic Solutions Inc.
Graphed data output of travel speed and times. Image Credit: SMATS Traffic Solutions Inc.
The responsibilities of the City of Ottawa Traffic Services is wide ranging. They aim to maximize the safety, efficiency, capacity, and predictability of the existing road network for all its users, but with the amount of construction being undertaken in Ottawa, the impact of lane closures and work zones significantly affects the flow of traffic on a regular basis.
Ottawa’s Hog’s Back Bridge has recently been closed, forcing traffic to be rerouted. The ability to actively monitor road traffic flow with access to live data makes sure that the suggested alternative routes are as efficient and effective as possible while construction takes place.
By using iNode™, the City of Ottawa is able to analyze and quantify the impact of the bridge closure on congestion. Additionally, the city are also able to utilize before-and-after traffic studies to pinpoint traffic improvements and reinforce the importance of construction changes with reliable, data-driven facts.
Extreme or unpredicted traffic events, especially if they occur in conjunction, lead to increased traffic congestion. The unpredictable nature of traffic emphasizes the value that live travel time offers traffic management departments. When looking for real-time traffic data or traffic monitoring solutions, City Traffic Engineers want a system that is simple to use, quick to install, and is also versatile, cost effective, and fits into their existing business practices.
The iNode™ data analytics platform offers municipality staff unrestricted access to monitor and evaluate traffic conditions, allowing multiple sections within the City of Ottawa to utilize a common platform for transportation decisions.
The data collected from the iNode™ can be used for a variety of applications, such as incident monitoring, the optimization of signals, and data-backed travel times. The all-in-one, web-based transportation monitoring system gives the City of Ottawa the ability to perform traffic studies of all durations on their high-frequency city roads. The adaptability and accuracy of the system is a clear advantage of SMATS technology.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by SMATS Traffic Solutions Inc.
For more information on this source, please visit SMATS Traffic Solutions Inc.